Spring fashion: Color me happy

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 17, 2011

While washed-out neutrals might be the spring trend in wider circles, shoppers will find color hanging on the racks at local boutiques and department stores.

Belts, embellished garments and flirty styles are definitely “in” throughout the Miss-Lou.

Kristen McKinley, manager at RRUS and Company boutique in Vidalia, said this spring is all about belts.

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“The cinched waist look is big right now,” McKinley said. “I think it’s because the belts make you look skinnier. Everyone who comes in and buys a dress buys a belt too.”

McKinley said thick belts are popular and so are the skinny rope belts.

McKinley said soft, feminine fashions are popular, like maxi-dresses (the opposite of a mini dress) and sundresses with light material.

“When it comes to accessories, satchel purses, some call them hipsters, are big right now,” McKinley said. “Big purses are still in, but people like to be hands-free.”

McKinley agreed that the fashion industry is pushing nudes, but when it comes to spring, shoppers still want to make a statement in color.

“Una Knapp, the owner, likes color,” McKinley said. “Statement-piece Easter dresses are in stock by designers like Judith Martin. My advice is to try stuff on. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Things look different on your body than they do on a hanger.”

McKinley said RRUS carries plenty of accessories for Easter. While other stores in the Miss-Lou are offering chunky jewelry, McKinley said people also like simple, delicate necklaces.

“The (pendants) are so popular we’ve been ordering them all the time,” McKinley said. “Hobo wallets are also very popular. They are real leather, quality wallets. If you buy a nice one you’ll have it for a while.”

Tom’s Shoes are a hot seller year-round at RRUS, and the store carries a variety of prints.

“When we get a new shipment we will sell 20 pair a day,” McKinley said. “It’s for a good cause for people who don’t have shoes.”

Katie’s Ladies in Natchez has served customers for 17 spring seasons. Owner Katie McCarstle said the foundation to any great spring outfit is proper support.

“We have the ‘Bra-llelujah’ by Spanx,” McCarstle said. The store carries a wide selection of Spanx products.

McCarstle said dresses and skirts of all lengths are fashionable. She suggested investing in a white tunic, which can be worn with almost anything.

“This spring is all about embellishments — ruffles and pockets,” McCarstle said.

Angela Gibson, who works are Katie’s Ladies, discounted the neutrals fad.

“Our customers like color against their face,” she said.

Many of the styles at Katie’s Ladies are conservative while maintaining a modern look.

“Three-quarter length shirts are blowing out the door,” McCarstle said. “They are cool and people don’t like to show their arms. It’s stylish and flattering.”

Katie’s Ladies carries jewelry and accessories ranging from flamboyant and stylized to understated.

“We have fabulous jewelry, big chunky statement pieces with stones and crystals,” McCarstle said.

“Whispers bracelets are big right now, and so are belts, both wide and skinny. The Anthony Alexander belts are popular because they fit women of all shapes and sizes. They are made with Velcro, and are adjustable. They can be worn slung down on the hip or tighter.”

McCarstle said for spring, she would choose a fabulous belt, necklace and flirty skirt.

“Don’t be intimidated by fashion,” McCarstle said. “We will give you customized care.”

At Belk the local trend is the same — color, color, color.

“We are selling a lot of flirty dresses, that is our main category,” Belk manager Mary Flach said. “Flowery tops are popular too. Color is everywhere. It’s been a number of years since we’ve seen this much color.”

Flach said she thinks the spring styles are beautiful.

“They have ruffles and flowers embellished on them,” she said. “Belk has sundresses in variety of fabrications, floral prints and vivid colors.”

Flach said she is aware that neutrals are big, so Belk offers those styles too.

“It is true,” Flach said. “The military look is also one of out most wanted. We are seeing a lot of army green, which gives some contrast (to the colorful selection).”

Very high heels and fun sandals are also hot at Belk right now.

“We have a lot of fancy, strappy sandals and flirty sandals with embellishments,” Flach said.